Online and Blended Course Information for Students: Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between “traditional,” “blended,” and “online” courses?

A traditional course is the usual classroom-oriented course, in which no more that 25% of the meetings and work for the course will take place online. Traditional courses may be supplemented with online tools, such as a course site in Sakai, etc.

A blended course is a hybrid of traditional and online learning. 25 to 50% of the course will take place online, and regular face-to-face meetings will also occur (though not as frequently as they would in a traditional course).

An online course is one in which 50% or more of the face-to-face meetings are replaced with online activities or material. These courses usually involve asynchronous activities, which each student can do whenever it’s convenient for them; but they may also involve one or more synchronous sessions, in which the entire class is expected to join an online group “meeting” at a predetermined date/time.

At Wake Forest, blended and online courses

  • may be anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks long in the summer, 7 to 15 weeks during the fall and spring;
  • consist of small sections of 15-20 students;
  • are NOT self paced;
  • may require already scheduled live (synchronous) online time each week (contact instructor to ask); and
  • WILL require extensive independent work and preparation before live online sessions.

If a course is online, that means I can do everything in the course on my own time, right?

Not necessarily. While a course’s asynchronous activities allow you some freedom in terms of fitting the work into your schedule, this does NOT mean that the courses are self-paced—you will still be expected to keep up with the general flow of the course. In addition, some courses may have prearranged synchronous sessions during which the whole class will “meet” online. Courses with required synchronous meetings dates/times will have them listed in Banner.

Who is eligible to take blended or online courses at Wake Forest?

For a blended or online course to count towards your WFU graduation, you must:

  • be a current Wake Forest undergraduate student
  • have completed 2 full semesters of undergraduate coursework at WFU
  • have fewer than 15 credits of online or blended courses already on your transcript (up to 6 of these credits can be transferred from another institution)

How do I know if taking a blended or online course is a good option for me?

Online courses are not for everyone. Successful online students are self motivated and manage their time well. It is important that you understand that online courses are similar to on-campus courses in rigor and time commitment—while the online aspect allows for greater flexibility in terms of schedule, etc., you shouldn’t think of online courses as an “easy” way to get course credit.

In particular, note the following:

  • Students that are struggling during the regular term should not be encouraged to take summer online courses, which are compressed in time and require high levels of self discipline.
  • Taking more than one 3-credit online course while also working or interning full time is not recommended.
  • Online course credit still counts towards the overall limit on Summer School credits for which a student can register. For more information on these limits, contact the Summer School Office. (336-758-2330, summer@nullwfu.edu)

How do blended or online courses factor into my GPA?

Wake Forest online course grades are factored into your GPA just like any other class. Online courses taken from other schools will be considered transfer courses, and thus will not be included in your GPA; however, as with other transfer courses, you must earn a grade of C or better for the credit to be accepted.

Do I have to pay an extra fee on top of my tuition to take a blended or online course at WFU?

During fall and spring terms:
For full-time WFU students, online courses taken during the fall and spring terms will be considered part of your full-time course load and your standard tuition fee for the Academic Year will cover it. For students enrolled on a part-time basis during the fall and spring term, the cost of an online course will be the standard part-time, per-credit-hour rate.

During summer term:
WFU students taking online or blended courses offered by WFU will be charged the WFU Summer School hourly tuition rate. For Summer 2017, tuition is $900 per credit hour.

Is there Financial Aid available to cover blended or online courses?

If you are interested in taking blended or online courses with Wake Forest during a term in which you are not physically present on campus and/or not taking a full load, you are encouraged to set up an appointment with Tom Benza in the Office of Financial Aid to discuss financial aid eligibility and options.

There are some issues that can affect financial aid availability for online courses taken part-time during the summer when you are not on campus. These include the following:

  • Institutional need-based aid is limited to 8 semesters, fall and spring for 4 years, and can not be used over summer.
  • To be eligible for federal financial aid (Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Perkins and Stafford loans), you must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours) in a degree-seeking program.

If you are enrolled less than half-time (6 hours or fewer), you still have options. You can:

Can I take blended or online courses at other institutions, and receive transfer credit for them at Wake Forest?

Of the 15 credits of blended or online courses allowed to each student, no more than 6 may be transferred from other schools. Thus a student could take a maximum of 15 credits of online coursework, but 9 of those credits would have to be Wake Forest online courses.

Before applying for a blended or online course offered by another institution, you should consult with the WFU Registrar and the Department Chair that would be asked to accept the specific course, to confirm that you will receive credit for it. A form is available from the Office of the University Registrar that requires approval signatures from your Adviser, the department being asked to accept the course for credit, and the Office of Academic Advising. Once you have completed and submitted this form with all the required signatures, you may then register for the online or blended course at the offering institution.

How many blended or online courses am I allowed to take?

A WFU student may count no more than 15 online credits towards graduation. No more than 6 online credits may be transferred from other schools. Thus a student could take a maximum of 15 credits of online coursework, but 9 of those credits would have to be Wake Forest online courses.

How do I register for a blended or online course?

All online and blended courses will be listed in WIN along with other courses. Each will be clearly marked in the course title as online or blended. You can register for these courses on WIN in the same way that you register for all other courses.

I tried to register for a specific blended or online course, but it wouldn’t let me. Why?

You may not be eligible for blended or online courses at WFU, for one of the following reasons:

  • You are not a current Wake Forest undergraduate
  • You have not yet completed 2 full semesters at Wake Forest

If neither of these scenarios is true, then contact your Advisor or the University Registrar to inquire about other potential obstacles to your registration.

Note also that if you already have 15 blended or online credits on your transcript, you cannot apply additional blended or online credits towards your WFU graduation.

I enrolled in and paid for a blended or online course, but my plans have changed and I cannot participate. Do I get a refund?

The standard university refund schedule and policy apply to blended and online courses as well.

I have a question that isn’t answered here. Whom can I contact to get more information?

If you have further questions, please contact Online Education (OnlineEd@nullwfu.edu x4810) or Anna Henley in the Office of the Dean/Summer School (x2330).